The art of partnerships is at the heart of the 24th edition of the Time of the Writer festival that will be presented between 15 – 21 March 2021 by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of Kwazulu-Natal.
“The growth and sustainability of the arts sector is going to be increasingly dependent on how arts initiatives with shared values can collaborate to co-create and co-produce platforms for artists to earn a living. At the Centre for Creative Arts, we believe that the partnerships will enable us to reduce the budgets that organisations spend on bureaucratic processes and increase the spend that we can put to artists earning a living by participating in our programmes”, said Ismail Mahomed, Director of the Centre for Creative Arts.
This years’ Time of the Writer festival is presented with support from the Kwazulu-Natal Department of Arts & Culture and in partnership with the STAND Foundation, Amazwi Museum for South Africa Literature, Imbiza Journal for African Writing, Foundation for Human Rights, French Institute of South Africa, Hear My Voice and Zimboni (Pty) Ltd.
“We are grateful to the Kwazulu-Natal Department of Arts & Culture for their loyal support of the Time of the Writer Festival. This support has been particularly helpful to assist us to develop opportunities for participants in the province and extend programming in the isiZulu language, which is the major language of the province”, said Siphindile Hlongwa.
The STAND Foundation partnered with the Centre for Creative Arts last year to develop a mentorship programme for emerging dancers at the Centre’s JOMBA! Festival. The Foundation is an independent, non-profit and public benefit entity created by individuals within the sector to nurture, promote and celebrate contemporary South African dance and theatre. The STAND Foundation, with support from the Foundation for Human Rights, will present a special Poetry for Human Rights programme at the Time of the Writer Festival on Sunday 21st March to mark International Poetry Day and South Africa’s Human Rights Day.
The Foundation for Human Rights supports initiatives that aim at reaching a critical mass base of all people living in South Africa irrespective of place of birth using popular education tools such as poetry. The Foundation for Human Rights is known for working in the areas of raising constitutional rights values of ubuntu, non – discrimination and equality since it was established in 1996.
Speaking on behalf of the Foundation for Human Rights, Sarah Motha, the Programme Manager for Vulnerable Groups, says that the partnership with the STAND Foundation and the Time of the Writer festival will “promote diversity, inclusivity and pluralism which is needed in a society where wounds of discrimination, racism and xenophobia are still visible.”
Mahomed said the Centre for Creative Arts values the support of the Foundation for Human Rights. He explained that the Centre has increasingly been positioning itself as a protector, defendant and advocate of the rights as guaranteed to artists in Section 16 of the South African Constitution — Freedom of Creativity and Freedom of Expression.
The French Institute of South Africa, which partnered with the Centre’s Poetry Africa festival during 2021, has returned in 2021 to launch a poetry anthology that aims to remember the past and dream the future through voices of young poets. Yesterdays and Imagining Realities: An Anthology of South African Poetry will be gathering thirty poems from poets under the age of thirty, to remember and to dream this complicated country onto paper.
The Amazwi Museum for South African Literature will extend its footprint into Kwazulu-Natal by partnering with the Time of the Writer festival this year. Amazwi will present two virtual exhibitions to celebrate the lives of Es’kia Mphalele and Tatamkhulu Afrika. The Amazwi South African Museum of Literature collects, conserves and promotes the literatures of all of South Africa’s official languages.
“We are delighted about our partnership with the Amazwi Museum for South African Literature. Whilst we emphasise creating opportunities for newer voices, our partnership with the Amazwi Museum for South African Literature will enable us also present works by our legendary writers whose works are worthy of celebration”, said Ismail Mahomed.
The newly-launched Imbiza Journal for African Writing has also come on board as a media partner for this year’s Time of the Writer Festival. Imbiza will provide critical writing and reviews of the discussions that take place at the festival.
“Over the past decade, there has been a serious decrease in professional arts journalism in the print media in South Africa. We welcome the launch of the Imbiza Journal for African Writing as a vital resource for documenting, archiving, and critiquing South African festivals”, said Mahomed.
Hear My Voice joined hands with the Centre’s Poetry Africa festival in 2020. Hear My Voice will provide technical support for the Time of the Writer Festival.
“One of our newest partnerships about which we are excited is Zimboni. In the long term, this partnership has all the potential of bridging an existing gap caused by COVID-19 and the country’s lockdown, which caused many artists to stop being able to create and share their works with an audience”, added Mahomed.
Zimboni will develop a virtual marketplace for books written by authors featured at this year’s festival. Moving forward, Zimboni aims to create a place where a partnership with the Centre for Creative can lead to economic empowerment opportunities and a new economic spin-off for artists.
Speaking on behalf of Zimboni, its director Mzwandile Ntsele said, “Zimboni’s pilot partnership with the Time of the Writer festival aims to provide a long-overlooked contribution to South Africa’s creative industry by giving artists the means to claim their narratives instead of only having their stories told by forces that live outside of our country.”
Time of the Writer is made possible through partnerships with the KZN Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, Amazwi South African Museum of Literature, the French Institute of South Africa, Imbiza Journal of African Writing, the STAND Foundation, the National Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, and the Foundation for Human Rights.
The festival will stream for free on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/timeofthewriter), Twitter page (@timeofthewriter) and YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/centreforcreativearts). For a full programme and participant, biographies check tow.ukzn.ac.za.